17 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2020
    1. The first is that the presence of surveillance means society cannot experiment with new things without fear of reprisal, and that means those experiments—if found to be inoffensive or even essential to society—cannot slowly become commonplace, moral, and then legal. If surveillance nips that process in the bud, change never happens. All social progress—from ending slavery to fighting for women’s rights—began as ideas that were, quite literally, dangerous to assert. Yet without the ability to safely develop, discuss, and eventually act on those assertions, our society would not have been able to further its democratic values in the way that it has. Consider the decades-long fight for gay rights around the world. Within our lifetimes we have made enormous strides to combat homophobia and increase acceptance of queer folks’ right to marry. Queer relationships slowly progressed from being viewed as immoral and illegal, to being viewed as somewhat moral and tolerated, to finally being accepted as moral and legal. In the end it was the public nature of those activities that eventually slayed the bigoted beast, but the ability to act in private was essential in the beginning for the early experimentation, community building, and organizing. Marijuana legalization is going through the same process: it’s currently sitting between somewhat moral, and—depending on the state or country in question—tolerated and legal. But, again, for this to have happened, someone decades ago had to try pot and realize that it wasn’t really harmful, either to themselves or to those around them. Then it had to become a counterculture, and finally a social and political movement. If pervasive surveillance meant that those early pot smokers would have been arrested for doing something illegal, the movement would have been squashed before inception. Of course the story is more complicated than that, but the ability for members of society to privately smoke weed was essential for putting it on the path to legalization. We don’t yet know which subversive ideas and illegal acts of today will become political causes and positive social change tomorrow, but they’re around. And they require privacy to germinate. Take away that privacy, and we’ll have a much harder time breaking down our inherited moral assumptions.

      One reason privacy is important is because society makes moral progress by experimenting with things on the fringe of what is legal.

      This is reminiscent of Signal's founder's argument that we should want law enforcement not to be 100% effective, because how else are we going to find out the gay sex, and marihuana use doesn't devolve and doesn't hurt anybody.

  2. Aug 2020
    1. What if, as in the case of anonymous résumés, the DA had no clue about the race of the accused? For that matter, what if you also removed identifying information on the victim and even the location of the crime? In 2019, the San Francisco DA’s office began anonymous charging, removing potentially biasing information from crime reports DAs use to decide whether or not to bring charges (http://bkaprt.com/dcb/02-30/). It’s too soon to tell the outcome of that experiment but, again, the removal of a decisive element may enhance an experience rather than detract from it.

      Another way to potentially approach this is to take the biasing information and reduce the charging by statistical means to negate the biased effects?

      Separately, how can this be done at the street level to allow policing resources to find and prosecute white collar criminals who may be having a more profoundly deleterious effect on society?

  3. Jul 2020
  4. Jun 2020
    1. EFF describes this as “a major threat,” warning that “the privacy and security of all users will suffer if U.S. law enforcement achieves its dream of breaking encryption.”
    2. Once the platforms introduce backdoors, those arguing against such a move say, bad guys will inevitably steal the keys. Lawmakers have been clever. No mention of backdoors at all in the proposed legislation or the need to break encryption. If you transmit illegal or dangerous content, they argue, you will be held responsible. You decide how to do that. Clearly there are no options to some form of backdoor.
    3. While this debate has been raging for a year, the current “EARN-IT’ bill working its way through the U.S. legislative process is the biggest test yet for the survival of end-to-end encryption in its current form. In short, this would enforce best practices on the industry to “prevent, reduce and respond to” illicit material. There is no way they can do that without breaking their own encryption. QED.
    4. Governments led by the U.S., U.K. and Australia are battling the industry to open up “warrant-proof” encryption to law enforcement agencies. The industry argues this will weaken security for all users around the world. The debate has polarized opinion and is intensifying.
    1. Such is the security of this architecture, that it has prompted law enforcement agencies around the world to complain that they now cannot access a user’s messages, even with a warrant. There is no backdoor—the only option is to compromise one of the endpoints and access messages in their decrypted state.
  5. Apr 2020
    1. Having said all that, I think this is completely absurd that I have to write an entire article justifying the release of this data out of fear of prosecution or legal harassment. I had wanted to write an article about the data itself but I will have to do that later because I had to write this lame thing trying to convince the FBI not to raid me.
    2. I could have released this data anonymously like everyone else does but why should I have to? I clearly have no criminal intent here. It is beyond all reason that any researcher, student, or journalist have to be afraid of law enforcement agencies that are supposed to be protecting us instead of trying to find ways to use the laws against us.
  6. Oct 2018
  7. Oct 2015